By Daniel Kanu
When President Muhammadu Buhari, then a leading presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), finally threw his hat into the ring after initial hesitation that he would run in 2015, most Nigerians welcomed the move. But there were also those that had their reservations.
Buhari hinged his desire to govern Nigeria again on patriotism, public-spiritedness, and an abiding love for the people of the country.
According to him, nothing more than patriotism would make any honest and sane politician want to be saddled with economically-troubled Nigeria which seems to be sinking into deeper trouble.
Buhari did not mince words vis-a-vis his commitment towards entrenching transparency and good governance in the country. For him, if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption may eventually kill Nigeria; so he vowed to stamp it out, boasting that he had what it takes to fix the country.
At the Chatham House in London, he made a remarkable speech that brought a ray of hope to Nigerians, who felt then that there was the need to change the government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under President Goodluck Jonathan.
At his swearing-in on May 29, 2015, Buhari had sold the impression of not belonging to any particular group of Nigerians, but for everybody. The statement earned him accolades across the country. However, in his subsequent actions and policies, it was not difficult for other Nigerians to detect his undisguised favouritism for a particular section.
In fact, the president and his party, APC, baited Nigerians with a promise to ‘change’ the country as they ran on the three mantra: securing the country, reviving the economy, and stamping out corruption.
While the economy is today suffering its second recession and still in comatose state, there is a huge question mark on the anti-graft war, while the safety of Nigerians cannot be said to be guaranteed despite the government’s propaganda.
Today, the reality is that the country is at the mercy of Boko Haram audacity as they kill and maim innocent citizens in the North, while banditry, kidnapping, armed robbers, ritual killings etc, abound in other sections of the country with impunity.
Travelling across the country today is like the road to holocaust as a result of insecurity.
The Buhari government told Nigerians that Boko Haram no longer controls even an inch of Nigeria’s soil, but over 50 rice farmers were brutally slaughtered recently in Borno State by insurgents.
Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, in an interview with the BBC last Monday said that the farmers did not have military clearance to be on the rice farms. The comment seems offensive and insults the sensitivity of Nigerians.
Why would farmers need military clearance if there is safety in the land? Why would helicopters be used to monitor the movement of vehicles along Kaduna-Abuja road and its axis if there is safety?
Northern Elders Forum (NEF) recently called on the president to resign for failure to combat increasing insecurity in the country,
The group, in a statement last Tuesday by its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, insisted that life has lost its value under the president’s watch because he lacks the political will to fight Boko Haram insurgency.
“Under this administration, life has lost its value, and more and more citizens are coming under the influence of criminals. We do not see any evidence of willingness on the part of President Buhari to honour his oath to provide security for Nigerians.”
Even senators are insisting that Buhari should fire all the Security Chiefs, just as members of the House of Representatives have invited him to appear to explain the overwhelming state of insecurity.
Just recently too, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, like other state governors, lamented profusely that he was frustrated and almost helpless over the level of insecurity in the country.
In the respected caliphate, Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar is not left out in the complaints galore.
The irony is that many who helped to bring Buhari to power in 2015 are today too ashamed and would rather not talk. Others are simply too afraid of vendetta and would rather take the approach of “Sidon look”.
In the penultimate week, Second Republic lawmaker, Junaid Mohammed, expressed worry on why the North has continued to indulge Buhari despite the leadership ditch being experienced.
He shot the salvo: “What is happening is because of the hypocritical nature of Nigeria, tribal, sectional, and religious politics, everybody is pretending so that Buhari will be seen to be doing something. He is doing nothing. He cannot do anything.”
The damning verdict and inexorable conclusion, according to Junaid Mohammed, and sadly too, the position of most Nigerians, after more than five years of Buhari’s presidency, is that: “As long as this same Buhari, this government and party – APC – are in power, Nigeria will never know peace because clearly, the task of governing Nigeria is beyond him. He cannot do it. He cannot save Nigeria. He has failed woefully.”
It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for any well-meaning Nigerian not to be despondent today against the backdrop of what the citizens are passing through.
The country, no doubt, if the truth must be told, is at the crossroads like never before. It is at this point that leaders rise to the occasion by making the all-important decisions and standing tall on competence.
Born on December 17, 1942, Mohammadu Buhari is a retired Major General of the Nigerian Army and served as military Head of State from 1983 to 1985, after taking power in a military coup d’état.
He became the democratic president of Nigeria in 2015 and is serving his second and final tenure.